T Nation

Am I Ready for Gear?


I weigh 220, I've been lifting heavy stuff for 2 years. I have a 315 bench, 440 squat with wraps and a belt, and 485 deadlift, though i feel with chalk i would be good for about 500.

I have no meet in particular to train for.

Am i in the ballpark? where were you when you started, and do you regret starting at that time?

Is it generally better to start with shitty loose or hand-me-down gear, or blow my wad on the good stuff?


I started with gear when I had a 225 bench, 320 squat and 400 deadlift. It won't hurt to get into gear early. With single ply, you can probably jump straight into a snug fitting Titan Centurian, and a loose Titan F6 for benching. If you're sumo you'd want a suit straight up, otherwise there's no harm in waiting.
The gist of it is you can get the good stuff for squat and deadlift, but probably avoid the top-of-the-line shirts until you've got a bit more gear-whoring under your belt.

So long as you keep trying to get stronger raw AND in equipment, it won't do you no harm.


Smoke- Really at those numbers? I weigh 180 and I'm 235/340/435 and I wouldn't even consider gear with those kind of stats. What have you lifts progressed to while using some gear? /Hijack

Third- your bench and squat sound solid, I don't think your DL is anywhere near needing gear to get to another level though. Seems low in ratio to your other 2 lifts.

Either way you have me stomped, so take what I say with a few grains of salt.


I started using gear when I was about 230, squatted low 400s, benched around 325 and deadlifted low 500s. I'd start with some used and/or hand me down gear to get used to the idea and then step it up from there. I started with some really crappy Inzer gear and have now progressed to the best stuff Titan makes (single ply).


My bench is still pretty terrible, and I've missed 440 raw on the squat a few times. All IPF legal, and equipped numbers are comp results.
Squat 190kg 418 lbs
Bench 140kg 308 lbs
Dead 250kg 551 lbs
Squat 262.5kg 578 lbs
Bench 185kg 407 lbs
Dead 300kg 661 lbs


There is no magic number. Life's short man, do what you want. If you want to use gear, then you are ready. More importantly, do you have some money cause the shit ain't cheap!


Shit yeah, it's time. Thats about where I was at when I got into gear. My only regret is that I did not get properly fitted gear at first (wasn't tight enough). I would recommend getting into gear that matches with your competition preferences- i.e. if you want to lift in USPF or AAU, get single ply gear, if you want to lift in a multi-ply fed, get multi-ply gear. Buy good, well-fitted gear if you have the money. Hand-me-downs will work in a pinch, but usually you end up wearing soemthign that's too big.

As for getting into too much gear, I wouldn't sweat it too much. Err on the side of support. The reason for this is two-fold. Gettign down in extrememly supportive gear is a function of technique and adding more weight. Your technique in gear will improve rapidly as will your comfort with using heavy weights if you train in gear a lot.

Also, gear stretches. Several times, I have opened a package from Inzer, Elite, etc., held up the shirt or briefs and said to myself "no fucking way". Yet- a few workouts later, I was getting the weight down.

I would go with a stock two-ply poly suit- a Boss, T-Rex, or Metal. Briefs are optional, even if you don't use these with your suit, they're nice to have for training. Adjustable straps will provide a lot of leeway in terms of support. For a shirt, most two-ply shirts will be fine. Some of the multi-ply shirts are legendarily difficult to use (i.e. Rage X, Katana) but that is largely a matter of technique and practice.


If you plan to compete in powerlifting in a geared federation then it would make sense to start getting comfortable with equipped lifting. You can always start off with some second hand equipment to see if you like it.

Personally I would train RAW and geared just to maintain a balance of strength. Ryan Celli does this and has posted outstanding numbers in both disciplines.


Listen to pinto^^


Have you not maxed on raw deadlift recently, or do you really get 110lbs out of a suit?


I got going at the following @90kg/198lb in a 42 Titan Centurion NXG Super+ and 44 Titan F6:

Squat - 190kg/420lb
Bench - 115kg/255lb
Deadlift - 220kg/495lb

Squat - 220kg/495lb
Bench - 150kg/330lb
Deadlift - 215kg/495lb (stayed raw and yes, it went down!!)

Have now hit the following 2-2.5 years later @100kg/220lb still in a 42 Centurion NXG Super+ and now a 44 Katana (non super):

Squat - 305kg/675lb
Bench - 210kg/465lb
Deadlift - 260kg/575lb


i just got into the gear game.
My current best lifts:

I havent been in the gear except the shirt yet but i have a Pro bash, pro briefs, and pro squatter. gonna pull raw or in the squatter. ive only had one session in the shirt and had to send back the other gear to get the right sizes. im excited to compete =)


OP, I say what matt said, if it is what you want to do, DO IT, theres no magic numbers that say you should do it, but you might not have record breaking numbers yet, so keep getting your raw strength up! I am in gear as of right now and my numbers to most people arent great, but I was feeling a gear itch so I bough a suit and a shirt, all single ply

best lifts as far as i know are:

415 squat

270 bench

495 dead

I also bought all my gear new, and its fine, but I wouldnt say go buy top-of-the-line shit, go with cheaper single ply... and if you get the f6, go with your chest size, no bigger.


I train to improve my suited deadlift, but yeah, that's an accurate reflection of what I can do raw.
Honestly, I get MORE than 110lbs out of the suit when it comes to getting it off the floor. I just don't have the lockout to take advantage of it.

The thing is, so long as you are strong enough to actually use the equipment properly, the more experience you can get in it the better. I started lifting in the October 2006, and hit all those numbers in October 2008; despite learning and changing training methodologies as we went, injury, numerous bench shirt blowouts that led to literally 12 months of waiting for warranty returns all up, a squat suit blowout and general fucking around.

I'm back into training after a 9 month layoff, and 3 months in I've hit all the same numbers. Admittedly they aren't great numbers, but the gist of it is:
Without the experience I'd gained from using equipment for a length of time that wouldn't have happened. Once you get to know your equipment and how to use it and train for it, you don't "lose" that experience, so why not start getting it earlier?

I'm not advocating that you don't get brutally strong raw, or that you change your training around to concentrate entirely on equipped strength. Just saying that if you plan to use equipment, it doesn't hurt to start learning it early.


Sounds like a pretty clear concensus. I'm pretty cheap, but i think I'll engage my lurking and bargain hunting. thanks for the input, all.